When my friend and I ran across a list of 101 books that were recommended to be read before college, we realized we had only read a small percentage of the books and made a vow to read more. One of the books on the list was "The Awakening," and as we had studied Kate Chopin in school and it was readily available online, we decided to both read it. Both of us had read it by the next day, and we both reached the same conclusion: Chopin's protagonist, Edna, was a selfish woman who was not strong at all, as a truly strong woman would have continued on even after the man she loved left her.
The book is written beautifully, hence the two stars. But Edna is completely unidentifiable. She is twenty-eight, yet she seems to do everything on impulse. Yes, maybe she did rush irrationally into an ultimately loveless marriage -- but her husband is not a monster, so doesn't she at least owe him some consideration? Not to mention her children -- she seems to not have the slightest regard for them, only showing affection in fits and starts.
This book should be read, if only to show what strength is not -- strength is not what Edna does in the end of this story. However, you may find yourself struggling to get through it, as Edna is often very frustrating. In conclusion -- this is NOT feminism. In fact, before reading this story I had immense respect for Kate Chopin, respect gained from reading her short stories. I lost some of that respect after seeing what she apparently believed was the solution for Edna's problems.